students with special needs

Individuals with special health care needs and disabilities need additional support and care during COVID-19. Find tips and strategies for families, caregivers and educators.


AdaptedMind was created with the simple idea that each child is unique. Their algorithm identifies each student’s strengths and weaknesses, and customizes a learning plan accordingly. AdaptedMind is offering a free one month subscription for schools and families.

Autism Research Institute

The Autism Research Institute offers free webinars for individuals, families and educators. All webinars are recorded if you are unable to attend live.

Autism Speaks

What should the autism community know about the coronavirus outbreak? Autism Speaks offers guidance on speaking with your children about COVID-19.*

Best Practices for Educating Online

The Council for Exceptional Children and eLuma Online Therapy shares guidance for teaching strategies, best practices and tips and tricks for offering high-quality instruction for children with special needs.

Breezy Special Ed

The Breezy Special Ed blog offers ideas and resources for special education teachers (and families) who need to shift to virtual learning.

Center for Online Learning with Students with Disabilities

With COVID-19 moving much of our K-12 instruction online, the Center for Online Learning with Students with Disabilities is working on tips and strategies to support teachers, parents, and the students served in this virtual environment. Check back periodically for tips and ideas. 

Council for Exceptional Children’s Resources for Teaching Students with Disabilities Remotely

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) support special education professionals and their on-going efforts to apply good teaching practices remotely due to precautions surrounding the COVID-19 virus. The CEC is now offering free membership through May 31 with code CECED60 .*

COVID-19 Toolkit for Supporting Individuals with Autism

The UNC School of Education created a toolkit of free resources for supporting children and youth with ASD such as COVID-19 social narratives, hand washing task analysis and calming strategies.


Do2learn provides thousands of free pages with social skills and behavioral regulation activities and guidance, learning songs and games, communication cards, and academic material.

Maryland Families Engage

Maryland Families Engage offers resources specifically for engaging children with special health care needs.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

OCR presents a short webinar aimed at ensuring that students’ civil rights are upheld while schools are closed due to COVID-19. Coronavirus Fact Sheet.

Resources to Support Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education

The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children has gathered resources to help educators and families support early intervention and special education during COVID-19.

Special Needs and Online Learning

As more schools respond to COVID-19, by making a rapid transition to online learning, what is happening to special needs students and their parents?  Bam! Radio Network hosts a podcast to discuss this question. The podcast includes the IDEALS Institute’s own Dr. Chris Swanson.

Supporting a Child Whose Loved One Has Cancer

How adults can talk to their children regarding a family member or friend having cancer.

Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times

AFIRM (Autism Focused Intervention Resources & Modules) offers a downloadable packet with seven support strategies designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with autism. Examples and ready-made resources are included to help caregivers implement these strategies quickly and easily.*

Teaching Special Education Online During COVID-19

As instruction is forced online, the Council for Exceptional Children shares strategies to provide differentiated special education to their students.

Texas Sensory Support Network

The Texas Sensory Support Network offers extensive resources for families and educators working with students who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing, or deafblind.

Using Mindfulness With Children of All Abilities to Keep Connections Strong

Early Childhood Investigations Webinars scheduled a webinar on April 8, 2020 to explore how all caregivers (parents, teachers, therapists) can embed mindfulness into their daily routines and activities to meet the needs of children, including those who are on IEPs and/or who may struggle with self-regulation skills.  All webinars are recorded if you cannot attend live.

U.S. Department of Education

The Department of Education provides a PDF of questions and answers on providing services to children with disabilities during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The mission of the IDEALS Institute is to improve lives by ensuring that all people have access to transformative child and adult care, education, health, and social service systems and practices.

*denotes resources that are specific to the outbreak and may not be available when the crisis is over.